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EMBRACE THE NEWNESS OF LIFE MAKING YOUR LIFE EVER FRESH
Metaphysical Application Ideas for The Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

LIFE”
for July11 – July 17, 2022

by Kathy Fitzer in Lake Saint Louis, MO
kathyfitzer@gmail.com


INTRODUCTION

As you study this week’s Lesson, consider paying particular attention to what it has to say about the perpetual, and constantly new and fresh, nature of Life.  Because God is All, ever-present and all-powerful, Life (another name for God) must also be all there is … the only power, and ever-present.  Contrary to commonly-held belief, there is no beginning, no middle, and no end to Life. Life isn’t linear.  Life just IS, and is reflected by all of creation. Life is perpetual, and unaffected by the bumps and detours that try to interfere with its harmonious expression. I like to think of the flow of Life being like the flow of streams and rivers — bouncing over and around the rocks they encounter, without any thought of vulnerability.  As the full expression of Life, we are impelled forward by a force of Good.  As thought shifts from a material to a spiritual perspective, the mortal view of life (with its limited sense of beginning and ending) will fade. And, the eternal, unlimited view will appear here and now. Then, the fullness of this true sense of Life that can never actually be interrupted or come to an end becomes our sense of life.


As used in the Golden Text the idea of God making all things new can be thought of as all things being made fresh (according to the original Greek).  Included in the definitions of “new” in the Webster’s 1828 Dictionary are: “renovated”, “fresh after any event,” and “repaired so as to recover the first state.”  I like thinking about that in terms of simply washing off the mud of misperception to reveal the shiny clean version that has always been.  We don’t have to hang on to bad memories or fears or scary visions or sad scenarios. We can resist the temptation to feel worn out or worn down.  Life is presenting fresh (new) views all the time, and those views invigorate, and reveal present good.  God’s fresh make-over always provides uninterruptible good for all — even if our limited view has trouble seeing it.  The Bible illustrates, and Christian Science thoroughly explains, this sense of Life.  So, we can all perceive and experience freshness and renewal in all we do. We have to learn to trust God and look for the good.  It is there to be seen!


The Responsive Reading also presents the concept of newness in terms of freshnessWhen we hit the refresh button on our computers, whatever was on the old screen disappears and a fresh, clean slate appears. The screen doesn’t hold on to old memories … it isn’t scarred by what was on it before.  It is all new.  Similarly, our lives are not made up of an accumulation of human experiences.  Rather, our experience is constantly refreshed as Life unfolds new views, new opportunities, ever-flowing good!  The Voice translates verse 17 as, “Now look here! I am creating new heavens and a new earth. The weary and painful past will be as if it never happened. No one will talk or even think about it anymore.”

There are several articles and testimonies in past volumes of the Christian Science Sentinel and Christian Science Journal of people experiencing being healed of scars.  One that I’ve especially appreciated is from the September 21, 2009 Sentinel, called “Why Forgive” by Arno Preller. https://sentinel.christianscience.com/shared/view/3vcpffsxj4?s=copylink

As we understand Life to be perpetual, and forever new, not only can we be freed from bad memories of the past, but we can be assured that each of God’s children has been created to live a full, productive life.  Even when it looks like someone’s life has been interrupted, we have to know their good work continues. A stream may pass out of view, but it continues to flow. We must guard against the sense that an enemy (of any kind) can destroy the good works of Life. God makes man to live — and to live fully.  As the Psalmist wrote, “the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.”  That which suggests something different is not an accurate view of Life reflected in life. We must defend ourselves and others from such a suggestion — and refuse to stand aghast at any and all false reports. Truly Life is forever fresh — like a fountain — and continues unstoppable as it flows over the troubles that appear — as freely as water flows over rocks in a riverbed.

As I read the Lesson, I saw the various aspects of newness presented in each section.  You may see something completely different, but I offer this as a starting point — and hopefully it will help counselors at camp:

1) God is the fountain of Life.  This becomes apparent as we shift our view.

2) God lifts us (as He did Joseph) out of the pit and sets us on solid ground.

3) Exercise your God-given authority to heal long standing problems as Jesus did.

4) Accept the gift of eternal Life.

5) Nothing can separate us from God’s love and Life’s freshness.

6) See the new heaven and new earth here and now — as John did.


SECTION 1: SHIFT YOUR VIEW — SEE GOD AS A FOUNTAIN OF LIFE

How we think about things has a lot (everything, actually) to do with our experience.  Mary Baker Eddy makes this bold statement, “If God is admitted to be the only Mind and Life, there ceases to be any opportunity for sin and death” (citation S4, 276:17). You don’t have to fully understand this concept, just admit that there is no mind and no life other than God! The Bible is our authority. Isaiah describes God as having heaven for His throne and the earth as His footstool.  In other words, God (Life) fills all space — is ever-present!  Isaiah also says that God comforts and continually cares for all of His children forever (citation B1, Isaiah 66:1, 10, 12, 13, 22).  The Psalmist describes God as the “fountain of life” (cit. B2, Psalms 36:7, 9).  He goes on to talk about God bringing His people “into a large place” and establishing them on a rock (cit. B3, Psalm 18:1, 3, 19, 46).

We often hear people describe some misfortune as being God’s will.  Some even believe that it is God’s will for someone to die.  But, that’s not what we read in Ezekiel! Ezekiel tells of God making “a new heart and a new spirit” for man. He writes, “For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye” (cit. B4, Ezekiel 18: 1, 31, 32).  It is God’s will that His children live. It’s all about renewal and freshness! As we shift our thought, we feel the effect of Life living us fully!

Ezekiel reports God asking us to “cast away all [our] transgressions.”  One definition of transgression (from the Hebrew) is “to break away (from just authority)”.  God, as Life, has authorized life!!  So, the transgression we need to get rid of is the belief that God is not All — that there is an opposite to Life, called death and discord.  But, that is a false misperception based on physical evidence.

As we turn ourselves to God and recognize the allness of God, Life, we will see Life everywhere and not be fooled by any other report.  Truly, “… all is Life, and there is no death.  Everything in God’s universe expresses Him” (cit. S2, 331:11).  You get to choose how you think — choose God’s view of perpetual Life!


SECTION 2:  LIFE’S TENDER MERCIES GET US UNSTUCK

We likely won’t share Joseph’s actual experience of being thrown into a pit, sold into slavery, and taken to a foreign land.  But, most of us have felt at some point that we were stuck in a desperate situation beyond our control, with no apparent way out.  During such times, it can be helpful to remember that the Joseph story had a very happy ending, not only blessing Joseph, but generations to come (cit. B6, Genesis 37:3, 4, 13, 23, 24, 28 and cit. B7, Genesis 39:1-3).

The Psalmist must have experienced similar feelings of desperation and deliverance, and encourages his readers to persist.  He assures us that as we trustingly reach out to God, Love lifts us out of the pit, sets us on solid ground, and moves us forward.  Rather than feeling helpless, we can sing songs of praise, and express gratitude in advance!  God’s tender mercies are being poured out on all of God’s children and God’s “lovingkindness [and] truth continually preserve [us]” (cit. B5, Psalm 40:1-3, 11).

The citations from Science and Health explain in many different ways that trials strengthens us.  They “turn us like tired children to the arms of divine Love.”  How many times have we watched little children protest, “I do it myself!”  Independence is good, but stubbornly thinking we are responsible for our own lives, and that we have to prove our worth by acting on our own, is misguided.  When the small child is not successful, he or she happily falls into the outstretched arms waiting to help and offer comfort (cit. S8, 322:26).

There is a lesson there for us! As long as we think that we are responsible for solving problems or that we’ve gotten ourselves into a mess and have to work our way out of it, we’re going to be stuck in the “debris of error, belief in sin, sickness, and death”. Freedom comes as we let go of the sense that life is in matter, defined by material actions and circumstances, and that conflict is an inherent part of it. I’m reminded of a game I played as a child (and that is still available on Amazon).  I knew it by a different name, but it can be found by looking up “finger trap toy”.  It is a woven tube. You put a finger into each end, and then try to get your fingers out. The more you pull, the tighter it gets.  The only way out is to push in to release the grip.  Leaning on one’s own ability and believing that life is dependent on material circumstances is like fighting the toy and tightening the grip.  But, realizing that literally “God is the only Life” allows us to yield to God’s tender mercies — relaxes the grip of the trap — and brings freedom!

Realizing that “Life is the everlasting I AM” shows that we (and everyone) are truly always safe.  Life that is can’t be erased or interrupted (cit. S9, 289:2-4, 27, 31).  And we can experience the freedom that comes from realizing that fact!  Don’t shy away from that which pushes you to greater dependence on Life.  Instead, know that Love’s outstretched arms are always there, revealing fresh views of Life as forever new and established on solid ground!


SECTION 3:  EXERCISE THE AUTHORITY OF TRUTH TO REVEAL NEW VIEWS

It doesn’t matter how long a room has been dark — or how long a difficulty has lasted.  Once the light has been turned on, the darkness is gone.  Once the light of Christ, Truth, dawns on human consciousness, the false sense of limitation is gone!  Jesus demonstrated this when he healed the woman who had been unable to stand upright for 18 years (cit. B10, John 10:10). Although the woman could not lift herself up, she was made free as Jesus perceived that God’s child could no more be limited than light could be darkened! We read in Science and Health, “Divine Truth, Life, and Love gave Jesus authority over sin, sickness, and death” (cit. S12, 26:10, 28-32).  Truth, Life, and Love also give us authority over sin, sickness, and death — as light gives everyone authority over darkness! I gratefully experienced the immediate disappearance of a tumor that had been apparent in my abdomen for over 15 years as it dawned on my consciousness that my experience couldn’t be darkened by the adamant of error — self-will, self-justification, or self-love (see Science and Health 242:15).

We don’t wonder if darkness will flee in the presence of light.  We don’t doubt that the view becomes clearer in the presence of light.  And, we can be equally confident that “the divine energy of Spirit” destroys every suppositional “material power” that would suggest that we (or anyone) can be affected by any form of inharmony or decline (cit. S13, 471:31).  Those suggestions include the effects of anything unlike the Goodness of God, whether calling themselves disease, war, weather, age, fear, anger, accident, death, or a gazillion other things!  They are all just forms of darkness — powerless to withstand the light of Truth which reveals the new, fresh view that can be seen once we acknowledge the light.

God’s authority to cast out the darkness of error is always present.  We just have to “exercise this God-given authority” in order to feel the effects (cit. S15, 393:10).  Anyone who has had the joy of developing a skill — whether an intellectual problem-solving skill or a physical, athletic one — knows that just surrounding yourself with the books or the equipment doesn’t result in mastery.  But, regular use and practice does lead to success and growth.

The law of God — as practiced by Christ Jesus and explained by Christian Science — gives us authority over all inharmony.  As we engage with the teaching that God is All and that the light of Christ is an ever-present help in trouble, our view of reality becomes clearer and we are able to “take possession of [our] body, and govern its feeling and action” as naturally as we perfect any other skill we are practicing.  Darkness cannot resist Light!


SECTION 4: ACCEPT THE GIFT OF EVER-FRESH ETERNAL LIFE

God has given us the gift of eternal life (cit. B14, Romans 6:23).  Have we accepted this gift?  Have we unwrapped it and embraced it as our own? When faced with evidence of limitation or destruction or even what we literally call death, we need to remember this gift of eternal life.  That which is eternal has no beginning and no end.  It just is! Nothing can take it away!

To all human appearances, Jairus’ little girl had died. But, Jairus came to Jesus anyway.  Unlike the mourners, he wasn’t fooled by the false evidence, and he recognized the authority of Christ, Truth, to be greater than the physical testimony. When Jairus came to Jesus, he publicly humbled himself before him.  Even though he was a ruler in the synagogue, he must have recognized the authority that Jesus represented as being divine — and therefore above his own.  I was struck by the importance of this sense of humility, which Jesus also expressed — understanding that he was operating under the supreme authority of God, of Life itself.  He understood that Jairus’ little girl was also governed by the law of Life, and so could not possibly be dead. Jesus put out the nay-sayers and then reached out to the daughter, disregarding the custom that said he would be unclean if he touched a dead body. Jesus never saw a dead body!  He saw the presence of uninterruptible Life.  And that correct view became apparent (cit. B16, Matthew 9: 18, 19, 23-26).  We can have that view, too!

The key to this type of healing is described in this sentence, “[Jesus] knew that man has not two lives, one to be destroyed and the other to be made indestructible” (cit. S16, 369:16).  It takes tremendous mental discipline to maintain the clear view that all there is is Life!  Because Life is all, and ever-present, death is actually the imposition of a false view that we absolutely must reject.  Death isn’t a way out, and it isn’t a threat.  It is a misconception.  Understanding this “will quicken into newness of life” (cit. S20, 426:16-19).  Regardless of the material testimony, each one of us is being cared for completely, and nothing can rob any of us of experiencing the fullness of Life — even if our human experience appears to take a different path.

Let’s go back to our illustration of the water flowing in streams and rivers.  The example I used earlier was that the flow is unaffected by its surroundings and that when the stream goes around a bend, we don’t wonder if the flow stopped.  Water is even strong enough to cut through rock and create a new path.  But, you might argue that sometimes the water does dry up and a dusty, dry riverbed is all that is left. That’s what the physical senses report.  But, even in that case, didn’t the water just change forms … becoming water vapor, to be expressed again one day as rain?  Every analogy has its limitations.  But, to me, the point is that the material evidence can never be trusted.  We need to trust that because God is Life, and that Life is infinite, “all is Life and death has no dominion” (cit. S21, 347:6-7).  That means good can’t be stopped, joy can’t be lost, harmony can’t be reversed.  All of those suggestions are suggestions of death — and we will have no part of them.  Life is living us — fully!  Accept that gift!


SECTION 5: NOTHING CAN SEPARATE US FROM LIFE’S FRESHNESS

Do you ever feel just kind of blah — not very lively?  Some days are up days, but other days are just kind of downers?  That’s just another form of believing that Life can come and go — that we are subject to death.  But, that is a lie!  We tend to fall into a sense of boredom or blahness when things seem too much the same — perhaps too routine.  In Paul’s letter to the Romans he compares Jesus’ resurrection to us walking “in newness of life” (cit. B17, Romans 6:4).  So … to me that suggests that a first step to overcoming death is to reject the blahs and boredom that would try to bring us down and approach each moment of every day as a new expression of Life that is fresh, beautiful, invigorating, and full of promise.  The sun never sparkles the exact same way.  If we look, we can find good that we would miss if we were to stay focused on the not-so-good.

Interestingly, as we think about seeing things as always new and fresh, we also have to consider this statement, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever” (cit. B19, Hebrews 13:8).  So, if Christ is the same, how can we see the newness and freshness?  Well … the sun is the same, water is the same, even numbers and notes remain the same.  But, it’s always unique how the light, the drops of water, the numbers and notes are expressed moment by moment. And the way they can be combined in their expression knows no limits.  So, Life can be the same (as in always good, whole, reliable, joyous, intelligently expressed, etc.) while still remaining fresh and new in how we experience it!

It’s not Life that makes things dull — or makes us feel blah or discouraged.  It is the belief that we can be separated from the vibrancy of Life.  It’s kind of like believing that something has happened to our favorite song right in the middle of our listening to it — and being sad as a result.  Nothing really could happen to the song.  Something just interfered with our reception of it … maybe the volume got turned down, or we lost the internet connection, or the channel got changed.  But, by reconnecting, we find that nothing could really separate us from the music.  Similarly, Life is forever playing its unique melodies, and nothing can truly separate us from the joy represented in that melody of Life.  If there is a temporary break, all we have to do is tune back in to the fact that “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”  Nothing “can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (cit. 18, Romans 8:2, 38, 39).

Turning away from the light, we believe we are engulfed in darkness.  But, nothing happened to the light … we just have to turn back to it.  So, it is with Life.  Jesus described eternal life as “a present knowledge of his Father and of himself, — the knowledge of Love, Truth, and Life” (cit. S26, 410:4-7).  The more we get to know God as the only Life — as our Life, the clearer will become our view of good continually unfolding in fresh and vibrant ways.  And, like Jesus, we won’t be fooled by what appears to be — but expectantly look for, and see, what is — always fresh and invigorating.


SECTION 6: SEE THE NEW HEAVEN AND NEW EARTH HERE AND NOW!

John was living in this world — just like we are — but he saw things differently.  He saw what is, rather than what seems to be.  He saw Life governed by the law of harmony — by the law of Life.  Rather than seeing things through his physical senses, he saw God’s creation through spiritual sense.  We can do that, too.  Refuse to accept things at face value.  Even if things appear to be good, if that goodness is dependent on the physical state of things, it lacks dependability.  Physical good can turn into physical bad.  But, spiritual good is forever — even if it appears to be covered up or distorted.

Thinking in terms of dreams can be helpful.  A dream can seem soooo real while we’re in the middle of it — and sometimes afterwards, too. It can be good, or it can be bad. But, the fact is, it is a dream.  What we see through the physical senses is no more dependable than a dream.  Good that we believe has its basis in matter is always vulnerable.  But, if we see the source of that good as Life — as Truth — then the good can’t be lost.  The love of a sound relationship can’t ever be lost.  The beauty of a Soul-filled image can’t be distorted.  Even if the situation changes, the consciousness of good remains.

I find it very helpful to insist on finding the blessings no matter what the situation.  We need to reject the negative, and hold on to the positive.  Mary Baker Eddy describes John’s vision of the new heaven and new earth, seen with spiritual sense, as that “which involve the spiritual idea and consciousness of reality” (cit. S30, 573:13-30).  We’re not just being optimistic mortals when we translate what we’re seeing into the absolute good of God’s creating.  Rather, we’re using spiritual sense to see through the misty, turned-upside-down view to what truly is.  Where sin, disease, and death appear to be, we see integrity, innocence, wholeness, and life.  That’s what God creates.  And that is the new, fresh view that is reality.  We have a right to claim that as our view and as all that really is.  Understanding this to be true, we will see things clearly, as Jesus did, as Paul did, and as so many have in more recent times.  Truth reveals a view of Life in which “all things are become new” (cit. S#, 201:7-9).  Embrace it!  Experience it!


GEMs of BIBLE-BASED application ideas from COBBEY CRISLER & others are in the works and will HOPEFULLY BE POSTED and SENT soon. Check on CedarS INSPIRATION website, or in your email, if you have  SUBSCRIBED FOR IT HERE.


Ken Cooper POETIC POSTLUDE contributions related to this Bible Lesson will ARRIVE IN THE MIDDLE OF EVERY WEEK going forward. When they do arrive, the poems will be POSTED on CedarS INSPIRATION website & be EMAILED TO THOSE WHO SUBSCRIBE FOR THEM HERE.


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